So, after much deliberation and knowledge gathering you’ve decided to monitor your employees, but how do you choose the best optionfor both you and your workforce? You can choose one of the classic monitoring platforms available that simply tracks the workstations in your office via a security camera system while simultaneously blocking certain websites; or, you may choose to employ one of the more advanced monitoring solutions available. These more sophisticated options can track employee communication via email and chat apps.
They may also offer GPS tracking of company phones, laptops, and / or cars and can monitor employee productivity to boot. No matter your choice, it is imperative that your employees not only accept that they will soon be monitored but also that they understand and support your choice.
In an effort to garner their support try the following :
Transparency is extremely important in all matters, especially those that will impact on your company as a whole. And most definitely, installing an employee monitoring system will affect your company in its entirety, how it affects it is entirely up to you.“Monitoring”, is a dirty word when it comes to employees and no workforce will look kindly upon the managers who may decide to install an employee monitoring system without consulting their entire workforce. Engage your workforce in the decision-making process from the beginning. Open and maintain a dialogue, inclusion will build trust and this trust will be the foundation of their support. If decisions are made behind closed doors trust will be gone and with it the support of your workforce.
Take time to explain the reasons behind why you are engaging in employee monitoring and how the company as a whole will benefit from this decision. Focus on the positives but also discuss the negative aspects of using such a platform.Informed employees are more likely to accept having their work and communications monitored, and if you are honest and open from the beginning there’s a high chance that a large percentage of your workforce may view your option in a positive light. Knowledge is power, empower your workforce.
Ensure your employees are active contributors
Transparency is just the start. Once the decision is made to install a monitoring system you must ensure that your workers become active contributors. Meetings between employees and HR managers facilitating an open dialogue surrounding the needs of the company and employee concerns will be essential.
Together, concerns and questions can be dealt with and an appropriate system can be chosen. Employees may even appreciate the option of testing their employer’s platform choices and the chance to give honest feedback on each. Engaging your workforce in this way shows that you respect and value their ideas and is sure to make things a lot more straightforward. Without question letting your workforce to contribute is the way to go, after all they are the best source of information regarding the use of an employee monitoring system on a day to day basis.
Respect your workers’ opinions
I’m not suggesting that you view your workforce as a simple testing ground, always respect and value their ideas and opinions. Their guidance in choosing the correct monitoring system for your company is priceless. For example – If a platform pack contains all the features you believe you need in a monitoring system and appears to work across the board, yet the majority of your workforce has an aversion towards a certain feature, perhaps the automatic screen recording or monitoring of all communication on each workstation, you should listen to your workforce.
Do not disregard their concerns, try to reach a compromise that is fair to both employees and the needs of your company. For instance, if you don’t really need an automatic screen recording option try to find a platform without one or see if this feature can be disabled on your platform of choice. It may not be possible to turn off a certain feature, but it may still be possible to find a common ground. If your company handles sensitive data and you cannot simply turn off complete data monitoring you can still offer to turn off communication monitoring during breaks or allow employees to use their private smartphones during office hours (prohibiting camera use, of course).
Come up with and adhere to written rules regarding employee monitoring
Written rules are extremely important to have when using an employee monitoring system. Creating a written policy that clearly states employee rights as well as liabilities is essential. Employee privacy should be maintained always and this is facilitated through an adherence to an agreed upon set of guidelines. Such guidelines are put in place to protect both your company and your workforce.
Guidelines should be concise and easy to understand (every single employee must sign and accept them, therefore the more straightforward the better. No need for legalese). They should offer assurances that private data collected via the monitoring of data will be kept secure and that no one is allowed to misuse said data for personal gain. Quite simply, it is illegal for data to be used outside of work-related cases.
Staff conducting employee monitoring must be fully trained and trusted
Instead of hiring new people to fill monitoring administrative roles try to utilize talent from within your company. Choose managers that have earned your workers’ trust and have been in your employ for a number of years. Choose someone who knows the company and its people inside and out and most importantly someone who can be trusted because there are many ways in which collected data can be misused.
Your chosen staff must be fully trained on the platform and its features before taking on these new roles and should sign an NDA – an extra step worth taking to ensure that collected employee data is protected.
Keep collected data secure
While most employee monitoring platforms do not collect personal data, some sort of personal data may be collected inadvertently. For instance, you can track a worker during their break if they use a company car to collect lunch, another employee might forget that client emails on all workstations are monitored yet send a private email message during work hours. Mistakes are made, all you can do is ensure that the data collected is kept secure on the company’s servers and limit those with access. Again, everyone with access to data that has been collected via monitoring software, no matter how insignificant, must sign an NDA.
Always follow the law
And finally, it is imperative that you follow the law regarding employee monitoring to the nth degree. Your legal team must be in the know regarding the legal and illegal practices of employee monitoring because some platforms do offer features that are technically illegal, like key loggers for example (while legal in some countries, using key loggers is frowned upon no matter where you live) – ignorance is not a defense.
Common sense should prevail – the monitoring of private employee phones, laptops, and cars is illegal. A no brainer. Tracking business devices, such as company smartphones issued to employees is legal, but only during work hours. You can track a smartphone or monitor web activity on a company-issued laptop even if an employee is at home but only during work hours. These dos and don’ts should be well thrashed out between employee and employer well before any system has been put in place. Transparency, an open dialogue and an easy to follow agreed upon set of guidelines will ensure that together you and your workforce choose a monitoring system that will work for all and that all will work to support.